MONDAY 5 MARCH 2012
A PODIUM AND LAP RECORD AT CLIPSAL 500 ADELAIDE

The opening weekend in the Australian GT Championship has surely thrown some of the best and worst at the Maranello Motorsport team, blitzing lap records and seeing golden opportunities slip away as the action on the streets of Adelaide came alive.

After qualifying the Il Bello Rosso entry fifth for race one, Edwards took to the drivers' seat for the start, getting a good launch on the green, fending off the charge of Taplin and holding position for the move through the chicane. Going wide through turn five, Morris slipped through, Edwards then keeping consistent lap times coming to hold in sixth.

Having set his own fastest time of a 1:24.52, Edwards was lapping just a second off the pace of the leaders, a highly impressive effort against the likes of the full time and highly experienced racers up ahead. As the rain began to fall and the street circuit surface became an even greater challenge, Edwards headed to the pit lane from fourth on lap 21 to hand the reigns to co-pilot Simonsen who waited for the compulsory time penalty to tick away before reentering the race in 11th.

Simonsen was immediately on a charge looking to accelerate the Il Bello Rosso machine back to the lead pack in the fashion he is known for, speed and divine race craft. When the safety car was called on lap 26 with 26 minutes left to run in the opening race, the timed stops and strategy started to take effect. Being held up behind the safety car dropped Simonsen from the lead group, and a long break in the traffic ahead on the restart saw the Dane with a greater gap to claw back in the remaining laps as the rain continued to fall.

The track was green once more and Simonsen charged the Maranello Motorsport entry through the traffic, under Wilson through turn six, before taking Briggs on the run to the turn eight sweeper as he moved into fourth. A move on Brock put the #8 Ferrari 458 GT3 into third, and the fight was on to regain the eight seconds to the lead cars.

In just two laps, Simonsen halved the gap and was in sight of the leaders. By lap 34, the Il Bello Rosso Ferrari was merely two seconds from the lead, and the gap was continuing to decrease with a fastest first and second sector bringing Simonsen onto the back of the Quinn Porsche. Now it was on.

Going under Quinn through the final turn to take second, Simonsen went on to set a new lap record of 1:22.63, taking more than a second from his own record that has stood since his efforts of 2008. With three minutes remaining, the battle was hot between Hackett and Simonsen, the pair in defensive and assertive modes as they looked to the maiden win of the season.

In the final minutes, Simonsen was robbed of his chance to win when race traffic completely changed the gameplay, Eddy and Hackett coming together, leaving Simonsen with nowhere to go but up the turn four escape road. Spinning the car to reenter the circuit, Simonsen battled on once again to set the Il Bello Rosso Ferrari into third, another impressive effort to secure the first podium place of the year for the Melbourne based team.

Coming into the half hour that would be race two, Simonsen would make the start, a good launch past Ormsby set the Il Bello Rosso Ferrari 458 GT3 in good place to challenge at the helm, all over the rear of the Quinn Porsche before moving around and shutting the door on the run into turn four to take an early lead.

Immediately on the pace and looking to pull out the lead before handing to his co-driver, Simonsen went on to set the fastest sectors as he undercut his record from just 18 hours before. By lap five, the Ferrari 458 GT3 led the field by more than five seconds, and the Dane wasn't slowing, again undercutting his own record with a 1:21.2917.

Streaking away out in front as the times tumbled, Simonsen was soon more than nine seconds up the road from Quinn in second. Clearly looking to hand over the hot seat with a significant buffer, Simonsen was charging on to go faster again, setting another lap record of 1:21.2202, a record that would stand when on lap ten, the safety car was called, diminishing Simonsen's lead.

Caught behind the #15 Porsche, the Il Bello Rosso Ferrari 458 GT3 headed for the pits with 16 minutes remaining, the reigns now handed to Edwards as the time penalty was served in the lane. As the safety car returned to the pits, Edwards sat first on the road, looking to hold the lead through the final minutes.

A quick Quinn went under through the back of the circuit to place Edwards second, with Brock all over the rear of the Ferrari, lights ablaze, but it Edwards was holding his own, protecting his deserved place on the tarmac and looking to take the flag for his Maranello Motorsport team.

With the chequered flag in sight, a nudge from Brock sent Edwards into a spin and out of contention, dropping to 14th on the road, but keeping the #8 off the concrete, going on to salvage a 13th place.

Having completed 56 laps on the streets of Adelaide, Edwards and Simonsen had come so close to glory, a third on the podium still an achievement for the team that seemingly had no luck this time around, but have more than shown the speed and performance will soon return the Maranello Motorsport entry to the top of the podium, not just the timesheets.

Allan Simonsen
"The series has taken on a new era with the European GT rules, and by doing that all the cars are faster this year, so every race you'll go to this year you will see records being broken and it's good to start that all rolling.

"It's not just because I drive the car, it's because we have a professional crew and Peter (Edwards) is showing more and more the skill he brings to the outfit.

"I'm here to support Peter and Nick (O'Halloran) as much as I can. I've won this championship before and now it's their turn to have the glory and I'll do anything I can to make sure they have the best.

"In races like this weekend, I'm quite confident that we could have won the round, but it was just one of those weekends and didn't play out. We know we have the right package so things will turn to our advantage and make it is great season for the team."

Peter Edwards
"It's a great result I'm really happy with it, even if unfortunately in the races it was a little bit dicey but things happen and it could have been cleaner, or it could have meant damage so we've got the record, a third and it's only the start of the year.

"The team have done an amazing job - the car performed really well, this place has a great atmosphere, I'm racing with great friends and obviously this combination got us into the position to be third.

"We've got some changes that can be made to the car, and it will be a function of this year to learn each of the circuits, and learn the right setups for the circuits - it's a process to do it right and keep getting faster to make the results come."

Maranello Motorsport is proudly supported by Il Bello Rosso - Baby Roma Tomatoes, IVECO, General Pants Co, BioMax, iPatrol and GPI Corporate.